ASTM D7684 - 11

    Standard Guide for Microscopic Characterization of Particles from In-Service Lubricants

    Active Standard ASTM D7684 | Developed by Subcommittee: D02.96.06

    Book of Standards Volume: 05.04


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    Significance and Use

    The objective of particle examination is to diagnose the operational condition of the machine sampled based on the quantity and type of particles observed in the oil. After break-in, normally running machines exhibit consistent particle concentration and particle types from sample to sample. An increase in particle concentration, accompanied by an increase in size and severity of particle types, is indicative of initiation of a fault. This guide describes commonly found particles in in-service lubricants, but does not address methodology for quantification of particle concentration.

    This guide is provided to promote improved and expanded use of particulate debris analysis with in-service lubricant analysis. It helps overcome some perceived complexity and resulting intimidation that effectively limits particulate debris analysis to the hands of a specialized and very limited number of practitioners. Standardized terminology and common reporting formats provide consistent interpretation and general understanding.

    Without particulate debris analysis, in-service lubricant analysis results often fall short of concluding likely root cause or potential severity from analytical results because of missing information about the possible identification or extent of damaging mechanisms.

    Caution shall be exercised when drawing conclusions from the particles found in a particular sample, especially if the sample being examined is the first from that type of machine. Some machines, during normal operation, generate wear particles that would be considered highly abnormal in other machines. For example, many gear boxes generate severe wear particles throughout their expected service life, whereas just a few severe wear particles from an aircraft gas turbine oil sample may be highly abnormal. Sound diagnostics require that a baseline, or typical wear particle signature, be established for each machine type under surveillance.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This guide covers the classification and reporting of results from in-service lubricant particulate debris analysis obtained by microscopic inspection of wear and contaminant particles extracted from in-service lubricant and hydraulic oil samples. This guide suggests standardized terminology to promote consistent reporting, provides logical framework to document likely or possible root causes, and supports inference associated machinery health condition or severity based on available debris analysis information.

    1.2 This guide shall be used in conjunction with an appropriate wear debris analysis sample preparation and inspection technique including, but not limited to, one of the following:

    1.2.1 Ferrography using linear glass slides,

    1.2.2 Ferrography using rotary glass slides,

    1.2.3 Patch analysis using patch makers (filtration through membrane filters),

    1.2.4 Filter debris analysis,

    1.2.5 Magnetic plug inspection, or

    1.2.6 Other means used to extract and inspect particulate debris from in-service lubricants.

    1.3 This standard is not intended to evaluate or characterize the advantage or disadvantage of one or another of these particular particle extraction and inspection methods.

    1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. No other units of measurement are included in this standard.

    1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D4130 Test Method for Sulfate Ion in Brackish Water, Seawater, and Brines

    D4175 Terminology Relating to Petroleum, Petroleum Products, and Lubricants

    D7416 Practice for Analysis of In-Service Lubricants Using a Particular Five-Part (Dielectric Permittivity, Time-Resolved Dielectric Permittivity with Switching Magnetic Fields, Laser Particle Counter, Microscopic Debris Analysis, and Orbital Viscometer) Integra

    D7596 Test Method for Automatic Particle Counting and Particle Shape Classification of Oils Using a Direct Imaging Integrated Tester

    D7647 Test Method for Automatic Particle Counting of Lubricating and Hydraulic Fluids Using Dilution Techniques to Eliminate the Contribution of Water and Interfering Soft Particles by Light Extinction

    D7690 Practice for Microscopic Characterization of Particles from In-Service Lubricants by Analytical Ferrography

    G40 Terminology Relating to Wear and Erosion

    ISO Standard

    ISO11171 Hydraulic fluid power - Calibration of automatic particle counters for liquids


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 75.100 (Lubricants, industrial oils and related products)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 15120000(Lubricants and oils and greases and anti)


    DOI: 10.1520/D7684-11

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